Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report

Sunday, January 28, 2018: Things are looking kinda blackish along the beachfront of Holgate

A nearby fish simply couldn't take any more of this woman's ranting ... 

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Below: Despite warnings from the sturgeon general ... 

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As local folks know by now, the Wells Fargo Bank incident was only a try at a bank robbery, highlighted by a hooded male handing over one of those "Hand me all the money" notes. He apparently wasn't overly committed to the effort since he took off when the teller sternly told him she absolutely couldn't hand over the money if he kept his hood over his head ... bank policy. (I swear this is true.) The male obviously hadn't expected to run into a teller who was a stickler for proper bank-robbing protocol. I haven't seen the entire robbery-attempt video. I want to see if the perp had to stop and ponder the teller's demand or if the mere mention of certain hoops needing to be hopped through was plenty enough for the robber to think, "Oh, this s*** is too hard. I'm outta here." 

How can one not flash on Woody Allen in "Take the Money and Run"? While the botched robbery scene in that movie was ultra classic -- like when he had to stop the robbery to argue with assorted tellers and bank management over what his scribbled robbery note actually  said  -- I still giggle over a point later in the movie when it's suggested that he had robbed a bank, to which Woody rather profoundly retorts, "I did not rob a bank. If I robbed a bank, everything would be great. ... I only tried to rob a bank." 

Below: First failed effort to read the scribbled robbery note ...


Sunday, January 28, 2018: Things are looking kinda blackish along the beachfront of Holgate proper – the inhabited area of the most southerly section of LBI.

The less-than-white look comes from some truly dark sand now being dredged from an ocean bottom area at the mouth of Little Egg Inlet, before being pumped on-beach. It’s the beach replenishment angle of the dredging of a LEI channel, to be done by springtime.  

Photo: Ric Anastasi

That seriously dirty sand deserves a worthy explanation. It begins with marine vegetation within a healthy bay and inlet area.

As the likes of subaquatic marine vegetation dies, it gets buried by shifting bottom sediments, most often sand. When it gets covered to the point of sealing off oxygen involvement, the bottom literally begins to digest the organic material, breaking it into sulfides, including hydrogen sulfide gas. It’s nature’s way of breaking down what amounts to waste material.

I used to face a hydrogen sulfide situation in the bottom of my saltwater aquariums. Notice the effect ... 

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So, what does that digestion process have to do with black sands? Hydrogen sulfide interacts with nearby metal ions, forming metal sulfides, producing dark-colored solids; lead sulfide being pure black. Simply put, black is the aftereffect color of sulfide – and fully natural. It is in such minute amounts that all it does is stain the sand, a stain sure to fade.

Of course, when looking at those off-color beaches -- to soon be lain upon by beachgoers -- it might be hard to believe that ugly-ish look is the result of a healthy bay and, even more impactfully, a never-before-dredged inlet.

Enough chemistry -- and on to why the arriving sulfide sand might be inordinately black.  

Organic material has been gathering on the ocean and inlet bottom near Little Egg for eons atop of eons. There can be a layer for every summer past. It translates into untold lenses of discolored material. Such is the case with virtually any inlet. But LEI isn’t like other inlets.

Image result for muddy bay bottom material black

Unlike virtually every other inlet along the coastline, LEI’s bottom areas have never once been disturbed by channel-dredging humanity. That’s pristine sulfide-stained sand now coming to light, a sort of virgin black.

Might LBI aficionados celebrate what can now be dubbed “the black sand beaches of Holgate”? While such a dubbing might be a solid sell-point in other parts of the world, especially Hawaii, the black sands of Holgate will be fading, post haste. The black look will quickly be rinsed clean, primarily by drenching spring rains and also beach overwash from the ocean, perish the thought on the latter.  

Below: Not Holgate. 

An eventual resurgence of white sands assured, even I have to question how quickly the “virgin black” sand will take to finally release the sugar-sand hearts of silica within.

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As must be reminded whenever pumped-in sand arrives with a less than sugary white look, the base granularity of material in so-called borrow sites has been closely studied to assure it’ll be an eventual perfect match for NJ/LBI “beach sand.” In fact, I’m still betting the gravel content in the Holgate material will be far less than was seen in the replen material from borrow sites off Harvey Cedars.

As to any treasure coming to light from the beach replen of the south end, that would most likely happen when the suction pipes get further down – to layers from long ago. Obviously, the odds of items like silver or gold Spanish coins popping up within dredged sand is awfully slight. Of course, “awfully slight” is plenty enough for any true treasure hunter.

I should also note that the aforementioned hydrogen sulfide can eat silver down to the bone. Many of the ancient silver coins found on LBI beaches – and many have been found -- have been eaten so thin that some can be bent by hand. Coolly, the exact details of the original piece, like a date, are often discernible in even eaten-thin coins.

Below: A one reale piece could easily make it through the dredge pipe screen filters. Of course, corrosion could have made it into a fractional one reale piece.  ... 


Two Boys Charged With Killing Half a Million Honeybees in Iowa

Two boys were charged with killing more than a half million bees at a honey business in Iowa last month.

"All of the beehives on the honey farm were destroyed and approximately 500,000 bees perished in the frigid temperatures," Sioux City police said in a release.

The suspects, a 12 and 13 year old, allegedly destroyed 50 hives at the Wild Hill Honey in Sioux City. The juveniles have been charged with criminal mischief, agricultural animal facilities offenses and burglary. Their names will not be released due to their age.The felonies could result in fines as much as $10,000 and up to 10 years in jail, but criminal cases involving minors are typically adjudicated in juvenile court.

Wild Hill Honey owners Justin and Tori Englehardt called it a "senseless" act."

"They knocked over every single hive, killing all the bees. They wiped us out completely," Justin Engelhardt told the Sioux City Journal after the incident.

"They broke into our shed, they took all our equipment out and threw it out in the snow, smashed what they could. Doesn't look like anything was stolen, everything was just vandalized or destroyed."

Englehardt later told the Journal that this story resonated with so many people because of the well-known (and horrific) decline of worldwide bee populations.

"Bees are critical, and people are conscious of the fact that bees are having a hard time right now and facing some real challenges," Englehardt said.

A report from the Center for Biological Diversity last year found that more than North American bee 700 species are in trouble from a range of serious threats, including severe habitat loss and escalating pesticide use.

Bees are a precious natural resource—an estimated 35 percent of food production is dependent on pollination from the insects.

The Englehardt's losses were estimated between $50,000 to $60,000. The damage was not covered by insurance.

A fundraising campaign has raised thousands of dollars for the recovery. More than $30,000 has already been donated.

"Thank you to everyone for your generous contributions and your amazing show of support," a message from the Wild Hill owners states. "Because of you, we will be able to continue our business in the spring. We are deeply moved by your compassion. Between the contributions and the equipment we were able to salvage, our needs have been met. There are so many great causes to support. Our wish is that this spirit of compassion will be used to help others now. Thank you."


Ghost Cat Gone: Eastern Cougar Officially Declared Extinct

By John R. Platt

Say good-bye to the "ghost cat." This week the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officially declared the eastern cougar (Puma concolor couguar) to be extinct and removed it from the endangered species list.

This news, sad though it is, has been a long time coming. The big cats, once native to New England, were last verifiably observed back in 1938. The service first concluded that the species was extinct back in 2011, and then proposed removing its protected status in 2015. This latest step, taken after extensive scientific review and public comment, completes the eastern cougar's long journey into night.

Eastern cougars—also known as "ghost cats," catamounts, panthers and, of course, mountain lions—disappeared after decades of overhunting on multiple fronts. The large predators were seen as threats to livestock, which resulted in the cats being actively hunted and bounties placed on their heads.

On top of that, the cats also ran out of their primary prey, deer, which were themselves hunted into near-extinction. "White-tailed deer were nearly eradicated from the eastern U.S. in the late 1800s," service biologist Mark McCollough told me in 2011. "The few cougars that survived [after that] would have had very little food to support them."

Biologist Bruce Wright poses with the body of the last known eastern cougar in 1938.USFWS

Extinct or not, the eastern cougar remains a vital part of New England culture and mythology. Several boys' and girls' sports teams in the region are still called the Cougars or Catamounts, and people still think they see the animals quite frequently, although these sightings are usually later proven to be bobcats, lynx or other animals. A few New England sightings, however, have been confirmed to be escaped captive cougars of other subspecies. One of the most credible reports took place just a couple of miles from where I used to live in Wiscasset, Maine.

Meanwhile cougars from the West are actually expanding their range and repopulating areas where they had once been exterminated. Most of those settle in the Midwest, but one famous mountain lion trekked all the way from the Black Hills of South Dakota to Connecticut a few years ago—a journey of about 2,000 miles.

That particular cat died after being struck by an SUV—like so many of its Florida panther cousins—but it may not be the last western panther to make New England its home, even temporarily. Many experts feel the Maine woods and other New England locations hold a lot of potential as a possible sites for cougar rewilding as the species continues its eastward expansion. "Biologically, it wouldn't be hard to resettle them," McCollough said at a meeting in Damariscotta, Maine, last year. "They could adapt to the East."

That would be too little, too late to make up for the extinction of the eastern cougar, but who knows, maybe one day soon the forests of New England will once again have their own populations of breeding big cats, not just the ghosts that used to live there.

Reposted with permission from our media associate The Revelator


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Comment by Zippy on January 29, 2018 at 8:17am

Guess the one that visits my neighbors farm here in NJ doesn't know he's extinct.......


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